Collaborative Project 2024

Collaborative Project:  Recognizes an original project in the performing, visual or multi-disciplinary arts illustrating the power of collaboration to advance and support arts and culture in the community.


Little Amal, the internationally celebrated 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl, arrived in Akron on September 23, 2023, as part of her epic 6,000-mile journey across the United States. Throughout her two-month trek, which spanned more than 35 U.S. cities and towns for 100+ events, some of the country’s most influential cultural institutions and artists came together to greet Amal and add their unique color to the rich tapestry of America. The story and concept of Little Amal is one to which many immigrant populations in North Hill relate: finding a home, community, and life in a brand-new place. 

The group of local host organizations and independent artists that organized Little Amal’s Akron visit included Gum-Dip Theatre, Akron-Summit County Public Library: North Hill Branch, North Hill Community Development Corporation, National Center for Choreography-Akron (NCCAkron), and choreographers Dominic Moore-Dunson and Elyse Morckel. During her visit, Little Amal took a walk through the neighborhood of North Hill, home to many immigrants and ethnic populations. Her visit and walk through North Hill coincided with the neighborhood’s 3rd Annual International Day of Peace, which commemorates and brings together the community of people who call North Hill home.  

Katie Beck, Co-Artistic Director of Gum Dip Theatre: “The story of Amal is one shared by many in the Akron community: finding a sense of safety and belonging while carrying the burdens of navigating a new place. The community shared the weight they carry while also celebrating their resilience.”  

Justin Chenault, Executive Director of North Hill CDC: “Serving a multicultural neighborhood, we are passionate about creating intersectional spaces to share our lived experiences. This year’s International Day of Peace focused on Actions of Peace, honoring North Hill residents, creatives and businesses that embody 17 sustainable development goals.”  

Christy Bolingbroke, Executive/Artistic Director of NCCAkron: “We are honored to connect arts and culture in Akron with a national initiative like Little Amal’s visit. Believing that all roads dance through Akron, this special collaboration across local organizations will be the latest entry in Akron’s long immigration history and reinforce the city’s place as far as how people move through the world.”  

Read more about Little Amal in the Original Little Amal Press Release. 

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